Bellringing

What's inside the tower   rotbell

Over the past few years you may have heard the bells at St Peter’s Church being rung more frequently than usual. We have formed a band of ringers to ring before services and for special occasions such as weddings. Our Tower Captain is Andy Austen and he, together with experienced ringers such as Anthony Cotton who rings at Derby Cathedral, has been teaching a group of people, some of whom are regular members of the church and others who live locally. The bells were re-hung in 1974 and were rung before Sunday services on a regular basis until about 15 years ago but since then have only been rung occasionally at weddings or by visiting teams of ringers. Some of our new bell ringers have not rung for a while and others are complete beginners. So if some of the sounds you hear are not quite as harmonious as you would like, please bear with us – we are improving.

We meet to practise on Wednesday evenings between 7.30 and 9pm. If you would like to come along to see us in action or have a go yourself, you would be very welcome. It is a hobby suitable for ages 9 to 90 and it is something that all the family can enjoy. You do not need to be strong or musical.  After the practice we usually retire to the pub for a well earned drink so it is a chance to socialise and get to know one another better. In September we enjoyed an outing to different churches in the area. This gave us the opportunity to ring at different towers which was a wonderful experience.

andy austen   Andy Austen, our Tower Captain writes:

“It has been quite a difficult year but with some good highlights. We have 2 new ringers who are now able to ring with the band and they are steadily gaining confidence. A hazard with new ringers is always broken stays and it took us a while to get replacement straight grained Ash from Keele in Staffordshire and make it into a stay for the 3rd bell. We could practice without the 3rd but not ring for services.Our practices have concentrated on teaching new ringers and, although we don’t usually have enough “inside” ringers to do method ringing, 3 of us have finally mastered Stedman Singles. This is largely due to the encouragement from George Fletcher from the Cathedral who rings with us frequently.

On the social front, we celebrated Christmas with an Indian Takeaway in the Chequers in Ticknall and hope to have another outing to a handful of towers in the Autumn – once our new ringers have the confidence to ring strange bells. We are getting close to the point where we will be able to nominate 3 new members for the Derby Diocesan Association.

The bells and fittings are in good condition and we are financially solvent and have enough in the bank to cover foreseeable requirements. However, we are struggling to have enough ringers to be viable. Medical factors, child minding and other commitments have taken their toll. We rarely manage to ring all 6 bells on Sundays and even when we do, its for just the last few minutes. 4 or 5 is more usual.  Early in March we were struggling and it really did look as though, after 6 years, the Hartshorne Society of Bell Ringers might have run its course. Sadly, we were unable to find anyone able and available to toll the tenor for Doug Jenkinson’s funeral – he was a ringer here when the bells were re-installed in 1974.”

Hartshorne Society of Bell Ringers on their outing in September 2013
Hartshorne Society of Bell Ringers on their outing in September 2013

Hartshorne Society of bell Ringers outing 2013

Congratulations to Bernard, Jana, Michael, Anthony, Colin Aked and Simon Humphrey for their success in ringing a full peal on St George’s Day.
This was the 1st peal for Bernard, the most methods for Jana and the first peal for 10 years on the bells! And the 12th since they were re-installed and augmented to 6 bells in 1973 and, of course, the 1st since we were formed last year.

DERBY D A

HARTSHORNE, DerbysS Peter Wed Apr 23 2014 2h45 (7) 5040 Minor  (4m: 1: Norwich S, 2: Cambridge S, 3-4: St Clements CB, 5-7: Plain B.) 1 Bernard D Taylor 2 Jana Pavova 3 Michael Foulds 4 Colin Aked 5 Simon Humphrey 6 Anthony P Cotton (C) First peal: 1. Most methods: 2. Rung on St George’s Day.

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